The Riot at US Capitol and the Implications for Africa

Ever since the advent of the pandemic in 2020, there has been one crisis in the world to another. From strikes to protests to layoffs to deaths to even economic crashes. Just when we think we have seen the worst then comes this; the riot and violence which erupted at the United States Capitol in Washington DC, United States of America. According to a post by Cable News Network CNN, “US Capitol secured: 4 dead after rioters stormed the halls of Congress to block Biden’s win”, it appears that this incidence has brought some level of shame to the US and has robbed off on some moral integrity for them to chide African nations. Considering that Africa looks to more developed or in general other countries for examples, this incident may not augur well for nations on the continent. World powers like America lead the way in global affairs while Africa has shown in the past that they can replicate social upheavals and political turmoil more easily than they can development.

Riot Unprecedented

The US is a country which commits to ensuring security with a 2020 Defense Budget of $721.5 billion. This defense budget covers the US Military in general and civilians under their purview. For a country which invests this much in security, is a global watchdog on security matters, and assists developing nations with security, for them to experience a security breech of this nature at the legislature cast doubts on their capacity. Although the president-elect and president Trump have condemned the incident, it remains to be seen the fallout from this. The world cannot predict the ripple effect on other countries from this one event in America. There are several policies which the US implemented that African countries replicate and have shown this trend in the past.

The Arab Spring Trend and the Affected Countries

The Arab Spring began in January of 2011 and spanned till 2014. Arab Spring was a wave of pro-democracy protests and uprisings that took place in the Middle East and North Africa beginning in 2010 and 2011, challenging some of the region’s entrenched authoritarian regimes. During this period governments were overthrown, changes were made and there were insurrections across North Africa and the Middle East. Countries affected included: Oman, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Libya, and some other countries. This is believed to have given inspiration to the fuel subsidy protest in Nigeria which commenced on the 2nd of January 2012. Occupy Nigeria was a socio-political protest movement that began in Nigeria on Monday, 2 January 2012 in response to the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government of President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday, 1 January 2012. Although relating these separate incidents may portend some form of slippery slope fallacy; however, the timing of these occurrences and the possibility of people’s actions influencing others brings some level of concern.

Tunis, Tunisia: Jasmine Revolution
Demonstrators in the capital city of Tunis sitting on a wall where “Free at last” was written after the popular unrest of the Jasmine Revolution forced Tunisian Pres. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to step down, January 2011.
Christophe Ena/AP
Occupy, Lagos, Nigeria, political, rally, Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, 2012, TemiKOGBE @ fatcityafrica.com

The Protest Trend for Against Brutality and the Affected Countries

The year 2020 witnessed several protests around the globe which spilled over into different countries. Although in an extraordinary year, the coronavirus pandemic did not deter protesters around the world—despite restrictions on protest rights and the danger of gathering in groups. Some countries were previously embroiled in protests relating to political issues during the latter part of 2019. In such places as Chile, Lebanon and Hong Kong. Hong Kong being a notable force of a protest, was managed by youths from all walks of life. Then came new protests during the lockdown to protest police brutality in the USA for George Floyd and France for Cedric Chouviat. This protests stoked fear in the minds of wealthy people who felt they could become targets of mass mob action during the looting and vandalisation of properties. And in October 2020, a day after Nigeria’s Independence celebration came the #EndSARS protest. End SARS is a decentralised social movement, and series of mass protests against police brutality in Nigeria. The slogan calls for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a notorious unit of the Nigerian Police with a long record of abuses. Again seeing that the protests are similar, there is still a possibility that some motivations are born out of previous occurrences.

The Protest Trend for Against Brutality and the Affected Countries

Paris protest in support of French man who died after police arrest
A demonstrator holds a sign during protest over alleged police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, on 17 October
Protesters at the endSARS protest in Lagos, Nigeria

In conclusion, Africa and many other countries need not focus on social misdemeanors alone as a driving force but rather seek community development as a standard. It is pertinent that global leaders condemn this riot at US Capitol and also ensure that wrong behaviors are not condoned.

Sources:-

1. US Capitol secured, 4 dead after rioters stormed the halls of Congress to block Biden’s win – https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/06/politics/us-capitol-lockdown/index.html

2. Timeline of the Arab Spring – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

3. Arab Spring, pro-democracy protests – https://www.britannica.com/event/Arab-Spring


5. Worldwide Protests in 2020: A Year in Review – https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/12/21/worldwide-protests-in-2020-year-in-review-pub-83445


6. PROTESTS 2020, 2020 begins as 2019 left off – dissent – https://www.euronews.com/special/worldwide-protests

7. End SARS – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_SARS


8. End SARS: Why Nigeria’s anti-police brutality protests have gone global – https://news.sky.com/story/end-sars-why-nigerias-anti-police-brutality-protests-have-gone-global-12107555

9. Military budget of the United States – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

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